Flatland

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Levi
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Flatland

Postby Levi » Mon Jan 04, 2010 1:03 am UTC

Flatland is a book about a square in a two-dimensional world who is shown the wonders of three dimensions by a sphere. It was meant to help Victorians understand the idea of a fourth dimension and was also a satire of the Victorian social system, but the thing that I really liked about it was the two-dimensional world itself. I got an annotated version for Christmas, and it has a lot of cool stuff in it--notably references to several other books which expand upon the idea of a two dimensional world. Flatterland, written by the annotator, along with Planiverse and Sphereland and a few others I can't remember. Flatland didn't really do much with the idea of two dimensions and has a couple of huge errors in consistency and two-dimensional physics, but it wasn't really so much about a two-dimensional world as the message of the book. The other books developed two dimensions a lot more. The other books write about two dimensional planets, which are just huge circles that the inhabitants walk on the edges of. I was hoping to discuss the physics and society of a two dimensional world, so, in retrospect, it would probably have been better to post this in Science or General, but I'm going to post it here since I'm not really sure if either of those places are good for it. Moving on, it was mentioned that one of the books had created a two-dimensional internal combustion engine. I've been trying to figure out how to create one, assuming I could get materials of any elasticity/strength/etc, but the best I've been able to come up with is a seesaw. I have no idea how to turn a piston.

One of the things that really bothers me about a two-dimensional world is that all one could see is a single line. I can't shake the idea that there would be blankness on either side of the line. Stupid me existing in three dimensions. Anyway, I suppose I should elaborate on the social structure of Flatland since that was one of the things I'd like to talk about. In the other books I mentioned, there are a few different designs for two-dimensional creatures, but I like Flatland's the best: Every person is a geometric(al?) shape. The social structure starts at the bottom with Isosceles triangles with an angle of half a degree or less, the other two being equal (of course). The child of said triangle has a pointiest angle of a degree. Each generation gains half a degree (or more, if they are educated enough) until finally becoming equilateral, at which point each successive generation gains a side, until a number of sides above 100 or so is reached. After that, tens or hundreds or possibly even thousands of sides can be added each generation. The Isosceles with the smallest angle are considered to be incredibly stupid, and each successive generation is slightly smarter. One's place in society is determined by angle/number of sides, with the circles being the rulers of all. (They are referred to as circles out of respect; they are just polygons with a lot of sides) Anyone who is Irregular is either imprisoned or destroyed depending on the severity of the disfigurement. Surgery can be used to expand angles or add sides. Irregulars are either stupid or mentally disturbed or crazy or immoral. The social structure is a parody of the Victorian one, but I thought it was interesting and deserves discussion. I might write more about it later, but I think I've broken my record for longest post, so I'll stop here.

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bright roar
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Re: Flatland

Postby bright roar » Mon Jan 04, 2010 2:44 am UTC

It seems as though you've read Flatland Levi.

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Levi
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Re: Flatland

Postby Levi » Mon Jan 04, 2010 3:14 am UTC

Yes, I have, and I was trying to give a summary of what it's about so that you don't have to go read it to talk about it unless you want to.

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Dustin
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Re: Flatland

Postby Dustin » Mon Jan 04, 2010 5:09 am UTC

Have you seen the movie based off it? Martin Sheen does a voice.
http://www.newgrounds.com/portal/view/531308
My little vision of the future

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Levi
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Re: Flatland

Postby Levi » Tue Jan 05, 2010 4:06 am UTC

No; I must see it. I assume they animated it. It seems like it would be difficult to make a movie as half of it is explanation of how the world works.

Is this it? http://www.flatlandthemovie.com/

If it is, they seem to have ignored several major components of the book, the most obvious of which is the use of color. And the eyes. The eyes!

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Dustin
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Re: Flatland

Postby Dustin » Tue Jan 05, 2010 8:23 am UTC

Yeah, that's it. To be honest, I haven't read the book.
http://www.newgrounds.com/portal/view/531308
My little vision of the future

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PAstrychef
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Re: Flatland

Postby PAstrychef » Fri Jan 08, 2010 4:10 pm UTC

And of course, females in Flatland are straight lines. It's all they're capable of being. I do love the protagonists amazement as he figures out that a sphere exists.
Don’t become a well-rounded person. Well rounded people are smooth and dull. Become a thoroughly spiky person. Grow spikes from every angle. Stick in their throats like a puffer fish.

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4=5
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Re: Flatland

Postby 4=5 » Fri Jan 08, 2010 6:34 pm UTC

I was annoyed at the wrong ideas in it. Like the idea that you wouldn't be able to see the shape of a two dimensional object from the side when you are on a two dimensional plane; parallax would suffice just as well in two dimensions as in three.

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Levi
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Re: Flatland

Postby Levi » Sat Jan 09, 2010 4:19 am UTC

4=5 wrote:I was annoyed at the wrong ideas in it. Like the idea that you wouldn't be able to see the shape of a two dimensional object from the side when you are on a two dimensional plane; parallax would suffice just as well in two dimensions as in three.


That was mentioned in one of the annotations in my book. I believe it said the reason A. Square wrote in the fog was that it allowed for the upper class to have an advantage over the lower, as they were the only ones who could be educated enough to tell the difference between figures. Flatland wasn't much for accuracy and consistency, but the other books I mentioned were written specifically for that purpose.


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